Tort claim says Gladstone police sergeant failed to act in child rape case

Tort claim says Gladstone police sergeant failed to act in child rape case »Play Video
Lynn Benton

PORTLAND, Ore. – A Gladstone police sergeant, Lynn Benton, interviewed a girl 14 years ago after she said a neighbor raped her, but the former sergeant did nothing after taking the report, according to a tort claim released Friday.

The girl, now in her late 20s, accuses Jason Jaynes of repeatedly raping her as a 12-year-old.

Jaynes is accused of abusing two other victims. He was also arrested last year on murder-for-hire charges. He is a co-defendant in the 2011 murder of Deborah Higbee-Benton, who was found dead in her beauty salon. An autopsy found she had been shot, beaten and strangled.

Police say Higbee-Benton's husband, Lynn Benton, agreed to pay Jaynes and Jaynes' mother, Susan Campbell, $2,000 to murder Higbee-Benton.

Lynn Benton was arrested in November 2012 and charged with aggravated murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

According to the tort claim, Lynn Benton interviewed the girl in 1999. It alleges that Benton did not refer the case to the district attorney's office or to supervisors at the police department.

As a result, the claim says the victim "was subjected to continued sexual abuse by Jason Jaynes." And that was a substantial factor in the victim's "damages and injuries resulting from her continued abuse by Jason Jaynes after this matter was brought to the attention of the City of Gladstone police department."

The woman seeks an unspecified amount of damages and accuses Benton of being negligent. It also accuses the police department of failing to supervise Benton or his investigation.

KATU News interviewed the woman Thursday. She said investigators first contacted her eight months ago while looking into the murder of Higbee-Benton. According to the tort claim, the victim only recently learned about the alleged negligence.

The tort claim was filed in late August after investigators looking into the murder of Higbee-Benton uncovered the documents.

"There was an original police report filed when I was twelve or thirteen years old from my father contacting Gladstone police," the woman told KATU News.

The victim believes the revelations are just starting.

"I have a really bad feeling there's more out there and I just – everybody needs to speak up. Because I thought it was just me. It's not just me," she said.

Gladstone police haven't responded yet to KATU's call for comment on these revelations about the child sex abuse investigation and how it was handled.

KATU's Bob Heye broke this story Thursday night.

If you have a story for our On Your Side Investigators, we want to hear from you. Send us an email at investigators@katu.com.